‘Eat that!’ yells a vilified Netto

New vast Tescos at Trafford, Manchester

Depressing, moi?

Which? Magazine (my Dad subscribes) has a feature this month called Best and Worst Supermarkets.

Forget what supermarkets do to undermine communities, this survey was purely about what they are like to shop in.

The survey placed the mighty Tesco at the very bottom of the list. ‘Eat that!’ yells a vilified Netto.

The survey looked at pricing, the freshness of fresh produce and the great British afterthought, customer service.

Participants found shopping in Tesco ‘unpleasant’ and that stores tended to have ‘surly staff’.

Quote: Tesco is also considered the supermarket which cares the least about its customers and is least trustworthy.

‘It’s too keen on profits and not keen enough on service,’ one member told Which?.

Only 27% of members felt that Tesco is helping to ease the strain on their food budget. No other store in the Which? survey was as poorly-rated in this respect.


Screw-top wines have no romance – Published 26 Aug 2010

Wines without corks

Most wines available in supermarkets in the UK seem to have screw-caps these days. I don’t know why, it must help the supermarket in some way but I would imagine most people find them cheap-looking and unromantic.

Besides not liking to open a bottle without the familiar pop of a cork, I’ve also long suspected that the dregs of Europe’s wine production are shipped to the UK in bottles with screw caps and passed off as drinkable to a nation with a notoriously indifferent palate.

In France and Italy, even in large supermarkets, you will never see wine with screw-tops.

If you know nothing about wine and want to be an expert in 10 seconds, read this: spend more than £8 and only buy a bottle with a cork in it. Doing this will ensure you bypass 95% of the dross.

And More. It turns out there’s a good ecological reason for supporting the cork…

Put a cork in it: the environmental cost of the screw cap

So that settles it.

The British attitude to wine…

Somehow this seems to say a huge amount, perhaps even everything you need to know about the British.

Wind in plastic cups with a tin foil peel-back lid

What we are seeing here are pre-poured glasses of wine (plastic glasses) with tin foil peel-back lids  (yes, yogurt-pot-style) for sale in Marks & Spencer’s, of all places. Cheers gluggers. (clack!)


A visitor‘ left this comment on 7 Sep 10
Point taken but it all tastes the same after the first glass. My mate nearly severed his arm off trying to open a bottle of wine without a cork screw. Plus I witnessed my Mum and Aunt hacking away at a cork for half an hour in the same situation. The screw cap gets you quicker to the good stuff. Once you’ve knocked a bit back, romance is definitely in the air! Know what I mean?

How the skies clogged up after the volcano ash – Published 14 May 2010

A visualisation of the northern European airspace returning to normal after being closed due to volcanic ash.

Airspace Rebooted from ItoWorld on Vimeo.


A visitor‘ left this comment on 5 Dec 10
Wow, great video, looks a bit like snow

Out and About #568983.3 – Mister Pumpernink’s Pizza (Published 22 Apr 2008)

Being partially unemployed I’ve recently had time to consider the cheesy enigma, smothered in a claggy tomato paste of puzzlement, wrapped in a soggy calzone of intrigue that is the riddle of the continuing existence of Mister Pumpkernink’s Pizzeria, 116 Holland Park Avenue.

To start with, it seems so utterly out of place nestled between Lidgate’s (purveyors of the finest organic meats, poultry and game direct from Prince Charles’s Highgrove estate), sPeck (the fine Italian Deli, kitchen and wine shop) and Daunts (a bookshop where you’ll see authors browsing as well as signing).

This is a famously well-heeled neighbourhood, so who’s eating at Mister Pumperninks?* Surely not Michael Winner.**

The place sells pizza by the slice, humanely sparing you the burden of discarding a whole one. They make a sort of bastardised deep-pan / soiled mattress hybrid. Toppings are reminiscent of certain scenes from Platoon.

I’m not being a snob about Pizzerias. A good pizzeria is fine thing to have.

And here’s a fact: Pizza is cheap to make and very easy to make well. You almost have to be wilfully kack-handed to muck it up.

An average small town in Italy might have 10 to 20 pizzerias. In each you’ll get delicious pizza for about £2.50 (that’s per pizza, not per slice, as you’ll find at Mr P’s).

pumpernink's pizza, holland park avenue, w11
The final part of the mystery is Mister Pumpernink himself.

He’s a leprechaun. He sits on a pumpkin. He has a pet rat… all classic Italian associations that Pizza Express and Zizzi’s must feel foolish they overlooked.

The use of the rat I feel is a particularly bold allusion to the reality of their operation. It’s so direct, so honest. I bet the Saatchis drive past and slap their foreheads saying, “A stunted Irishman and vermin. They trumped us finding the new direction. We should retire.”  

* Turns out it’s school kids. Mystery solved.
** I bet he puts on a big bib and orders in.



A visitor‘ left this comment on 4 Jan 09
Im not sure what rubbish is being spouted here. I have enjoyed the pizza from Mr Pumpernink’s for many years. It may not always be the best Pizza in Britain and it isn’t exactly cheap, but what is in this area including, Pizza Express and Zizzi’s? It charges around the same as any other Pizza establishment within the area for home delivery and Ive tried most of them, but keep coming back to Mr Pumperninks.
A visitor‘ left this comment on 23 Apr 08
We know where you live…
capo napolitano‘ left this comment on 23 Apr 08
You make untrue statements about my ristorante?? SO WHAT if I am out flanked by superior eating and reading establishments! Who gives a flying f**k about my pet rat! Is not my problem you don’t see the significance of the f’kin pumpkin either. Soiled f’kin matress!! F’kin Platoon!!! If I were you, I’d be watching my back when you next leave Lidgate’s with your organic f’kin pie or Daunts with your copy of Tom f’kin Clancy!!!! Your days are numbered Jokl – maybe you’ll think twice before casting wild and crazy slanderous material around Holland Park about the Mr Pumpernink.

Dough Boy – Published: 24 Sep 2005

I haven’t blogged for a wee while and it’s taken a change in what I eat for breakfast to provide the inspiration.

These self-bake croissants (astonishingly hard to find) are fab and, besides being dead nice to eat fresh out of the oven in the morning, they fill your home with a pleasant bakery smell.

A small branch of Tescos nr work has them, in tubes of six, and my local mini-Sainsbury’s, where I buy ’em, have them in tubes of four. I’ve never seen them anywhere else, not even bigger branches of those two supermarket chains. What kind of insanity is that, readers?

The Pillsbury Dough Company used to have a range of self-bake Danishes on the market here in the UK which were delicious.

Sadly they withdrew these and now they are only available in the genetically modified United States. I wrote to them and asked why I couldn’t get them any more and this was their reply:

Dear Mr Jokl

Thank you for contacting us with your enquiry about our Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls.

We are sorry to have to advise you that this product is not currently available for retail in the U.K. We conduct extensive consumer research and results have shown that the majority of our consumers have a preference for other types of product or flavour.

We realise that this will be a disappointment for some of our consumers. However, we would like to reassure you that we constantly monitor and update our range of retail products. Your comments have been documented and the appropriate personnel have been notified.

Thank you for your interest in our company. We hope that you will continue to enjoy products in the future.

Yours sincerely,

A. Bristow
Consumer Relations
I love that their extensive research shows that “consumers have a preference for other types of product or flavour” and not that “We found people didn’t like ’em or tended to be sick”

… Another funny thing is that in the US, Pillsbury have a rival range of self-bake croissants – but they call them ‘Pillsbury Crescents’ – here crescents are where Dickensian toffs live. Am I rambling?

Food for thought, Dewsbury

Published: 17 Nov 2003

I almost fell out of bed reading this…

The Guardian Guide to the 150 best Gastropubs in the UK and Ireland has an entry for my hometown of Dewsbury.

Not only that, it gives the establishment in question 10 out of 10.

I left Dewsbury believing the place had all the charm of verruca plaster and all the gastronomic delights of… well, the same.

Shows what I know.

This is what The Guadian said about the West Riding Licensed Refreshment Rooms, Railway Station, Wellington Road:

“Simple food cooked with a generous heart, best sums up the offer at what is possibly Yorkshire’s finest pub. The fact that the aforementioned is served with a genuine smile makes the whole experience doubly refreshing. Top of the heap it may be but the prices are strictly down-to-earth for such noteworthy rib-sticking fare. Pork cops with mustard mash or beef with red wine sauce and rustic-as-you-like potatoes are recommended. Each come with veg and a gladdening gravy and are meritorious to excess. One for the gastrocenti.”

Does anyone in Dewsbury read the Guardian? (Does anyone in Dewsbury read?) I hope so.

Rescued from my old blog: January 2003

Published: 6 Jan 2003
This is what I do for a living

This is what I do for a living:  BBC ONLINE COMEDY

Published: 7 Jan 2003
Idea for a theme park: Evil Villain’s Volcano Lair.

You pay to stay in a luxurious subterranean complex, breakfast is served by a beautiful oriental girl but it’s always drugged. You wake up about tea time and are then hit in the face with the butt of a Kalashnikov.

Published: 8 Jan 2003
Cancer of the Arse

I don’t know what life is all about but I treasure these moments, just me and a plate of fried eggs. FRIED EGG RELATED PLEASURE

You know there’s only one letter missing from Fried Egg – add the letter n and get Friend Egg. Mmm. Yummy Yokey Goodness.

Today in my inbox were three emails offering penis enlargements. There were the usual ones about consolidating debts.

What do you do when you are emotionally indebted to people and you can’t keep up the payments? I think it would work out well if I could consolidate and be just indebted to, say, my 4th year English teacher.

I’d have to keep up the small emotional repayments for over sixty years but at least things would be under control, and maybe, who knows, I could even think about getting indebted to some new people.



Slocombe‘ left this comment on 11 Jan 03
My dad had cancer of the arse, he had cancer of the knob, he had cancer of the eyeballs, mouth, nose, and even of the ears.
Brokyn‘ left this comment on 8 Jan 03
I get emails about both enlarging my penis, and learning to pleasure my woman to multiple orgasm. I have neither a penis, nor a woman. I feel as though perhaps I should want these things, in order to enlarge or pleasure them. So far I don’t…